How Do I Respond to Physical Abuse?

sad abused woman sitting -Dollar PhotoLet me begin by saying that I cannot think of a circumstance in a marriage or family that could justify abuse of any kind —emotional, mental, physical, or sexual. Abusive behavior was never and can never be a part of God’s plan for a marriage or a family.

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to limit this answer to physical abuse. And by this I mean assaulting, threatening, or restraining a person through force. It would include hitting, slapping, punching, beating, grabbing, shoving, biting, kicking, pulling hair, burning, using or threatening the use of weapons, blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument, driving recklessly, or intimidating you with threatening gestures…

That’s the first few paragraphs of an article written by Dennis Rainey and Leslie Barner, posted on We recommend you read it by clicking onto the link web site link below to learn:


— ALSO —

The following are two blogs written by Leslie Vernick. They approach physical violence in different ways. We believe you will find the information to be insightful as she poses questions, and then gives her responses.

This first blog gives you scriptural references to read and then prayerfully consider as you look at:


And then this next blog, written by Leslie Vernick, is a bit different. In it, she shares the advice, which was given to her by a former abuser on this matter of how to respond to physical abuse. Again, please pray, read, glean, and use what you believe God would have you pertaining to:


If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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221 responses to “How Do I Respond to Physical Abuse?

  1. My husband is a wonderful father and most of the time a great husband. However, when he gets angry, he hits me, and punches me like a punching bag. I don’t like it. It hurts me more emotionally than it does physically. I don’t know if it’s ok to hit someone that angers you because apparently his reasons for hitting me is because I anger him. Now, I may not be an expert at understanding people but I feel like when he hits me, he doesn’t love me. Countless times he angers me but not once have I ever raised my hands to him.

    Now tell me, someone please, at what point do I say, “enough is enough” to his hits? This probably happens at least 1-2 times a month. So apparently I “mess up” and get a fist to my arms, slaps to my face, and verbal abuse that consists of throwing me out of the house, divorce, and just nasty, disgusting remarks that include my side of the family. He has cheated on me and I don’t know if he still does. I do care to know but I choose to brush it off just to prevent further problems in our marriage. I have never cheated on him, never cussed at him, and have always been a faithful wife. He is an amazing husband and father, but when he’s angry, he’s a whole different kind of man, and I AM SO TIRED OF HIS HITS and verbal abuse to me!!!

    1. Dear MicroWoman, One hit is too much. That is more than enough. You are not his punching bag and you need to let him know that you will not keep staying around for another round and another one and another one. They will get worse if you enable him to keep doing this to you. He is not an “amazing husband and father” if he treats you –the mother of his children in this horrific way. Please read through the articles posted in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic to learn of some ways to better protect yourself and come up with a plan so you are not used as his verbal or physical punching bag. I hope you will. You have tolerated WAY too much already. He has to stop this. You are his marriage partner, not a thing to be punched!

  2. I never understand my husband. He keeps telling me that I never let him talk; I always talk over him and that’s when he starts screaming at me and getting more physical. When I try to stand up for myself he’s always trying to say that I never appreciate him ever. I don’t know what to do anymore because I do everything. Is there something really wrong with me? Everybody I’ve ever been with has always told me that they know the reason why men beat me was because I can’t keep my mouth shut and I was fat and lazy and no good. I just want to know what is wrong with me? How can I fix it because every man that I’ve ever been with has physically, and mentally abused me? What’s wrong with me? Please somebody help me find out.

    1. HI Shellie, I could not help but repsond to your message. I am a husband married for 37 years with two adult children. Our daughter was in an abusive relationship for 8 years so I do know something about this from the point of view of a parent.

      You do not provide many details, but it’s interesting that you say, “He keeps telling me I never let him (your husband) talk,” and “I always talk over him.” For both of these habits of yours, you are getting an immediate reaction. It seems that your response is to try and stand up for yourself. You say later that “Everybody I’ve ever been with has always told me that they know the reason why men beat me was because I can’t keep my mouth shut and I was fat and lazy and no good.” I would tend to doubt the last three items, but the first seems to agree with your earlier statements, doesn’t it?

      All your husband needs and wants is to be understood and valued. All you have to do is listen with your full attention. Just listen and let him talk while NOT giving the impression that you are just waiting for him to finish speaking so that you can have your turn. No…listen to him and place yourself in his shoes – make the effort to do this.

      Do NOT interrupt, do NOT fidget, or look away, or play with your mobile phone or do anything else which tells him your mind is somewhere else. Ask him clarification questions… “Do you mean…..?” or… “What I am hearing you say is..” etc. Let him know by your body language, your general attitude, and your attentiveness, that you are genuinely interested in what he has to say.

      Encourage him, confirm him, express your appreciatioin for his good qualities and the things he does around the house for you. Write him a love card. Simple, but these things go a long way :)))

      As to why you have been abused by every man you have been with…perhaps as a reaction to, in your words, “because I can’t keep my mouth shut?” Of course there is no excuse for abuse in any form. Your excessive use of words can be bringing out the worst in your husband, but also, abuse is not something that you should allow either. That is another subject which is too lengthy to go into right now…but in general, if you simply listen more and talk less, as I have tried to describe above, you may see a dramatic turn around in a short time!

      No… there is nothing wrong with you, I really doubt that. See how this works to start with…and I hope we hear from you again…WP (Work in Progress)

  3. It is with a really tortured heart that I am writing this. My husband gets really angry for the silliest of reasons and beats me up cruelly. Everything is okay if we follow an epicurean style of life with just fun and fun and more fun. But the moment the slightest of opinion difference arises, he would get really angry and beat me up. There were a couple of occasions in which I even fell down unconscious. I had to be taken to the hospital more than twice because of intense back pain due to his beating and another time because of a sagging elbow. My family knows about the first time he hit me, which was 4 years ago and they had warned him for it. But they know nothing about the other times after that (which would come to about more than 20 times after that).

    I hesitate in telling about this to my parents because I know that it would create a rift between his family and mine. (It happened in the first place and it was patched up). Our marriage itself was a lie because his parents had told my parents that he was a born again, no drinking, no smoking person, which turned out to be a big lie. But I’ve tried to adjust to all his mood swings. But sometimes I feel that I can’t take it any more. I feel that this abuse towards me is mentally torturing my kid too who watches it all with a terrified face. Today also he hit me and kicked me and my whole body is throbbing in pain. My lips are bleeding from the way he slammed his fist across my face..Please advise me on what I should do.I really long for a happy Christ centered married life.

    1. Dear “Female” …This is truly horrible. I cry for you and for your child. There is absolutely no way you can allow this to continue or eventually, he will either kill or permanently maim you. He is allowing himself to treat you like a detestable object, instead of a marriage partner. Please tell your family. They need to know so they can help you figure out what to do. You can’t keep quiet about this. It HAS to stop… not only for your sake, but for the sake of your child who is watching the horrible way this child’s mom is being treated by his or her dad. This negatively writes on the slate of who your child will become someday.

      Find a way to protect yourself and your child (we have articles in the “Abuse in Marriage” topic on this web site that can help you with that) and come up with a plan as to how you can make this stop. Even if you have to leave for a while, or beyond, you just can’t live with a man who brutalizes you this way. This is animalistic and hateful. I hope you will and pray for wisdom and discernment, plus a way of escape to safety away from this violence.

    2. Does he make time to talk about his behavior? If all he does is to beat you, please remember that you have the heavy responsibility of bringing up your child into a responsible loving human being. Pleasing your parents or inlaws will never repair the damage done to your child’s self esteem. You and your child’s life matter here. Show your child that we can make a choice to leave the people close to us if they do not show us respect and the dignity that we deserve by walking out of that abusive marriage. A normal, mature human being would not beat up an equally mature being like your husband does. He should seek help for his abusive behavior.

  4. My husband and I have been married 8 years together for 10. He has ADHD and is easily distracted and very forgetful. It angers me a lot of the times because he can’t do simple things around the house without being reminded over and over. It gets to the point that I feel like I am talking to a child, which I hate having to remind and talk this way. He then finds me to be a nuisance.

    I will admit that I yell at him, called him lazy because he always has an excuse, and drill him until it is done. I guess this is verbal /emotional abuse? Anyway, he blows up to the point that he throws things at me, punches the wall, chokes me by the neck, pulls my hair, punches me repeatedly in the head or side. Then when I fall he tells me to get up or he will punch me some more. A couple of times I lay there paralyzed in shock and he would deliver more blows to my head. He tells me to repeat what he is saying and that I must say “I understand” or else he will strike me again.

    I always forgive him because I think of how far we have come together and I can’t live without him. Plus I can’t stay mad at him for long. He easily makes me laugh. Did I deserve it? What should I do. I know I am at fault.

  5. Hi I have married for 5yrs. My husband started hitting me since 1 yr for silly reasons. Most of the time when I get angry with him. He decided and planned this to hit me, whenever he thinks I’m getting angry. Now I changed my behavior too. But for small, silly anger also, he started to hit me with his legs too. And now he does this in front of his family. I then said back to him telling him I will not allow you to hit me. So he got angry and disconnected with me since 1 week. I don’t know if I am wrong or right. But I can’t stay away from him a single day what am I to do?

  6. My only thought is to everyone if someone, anyone lays a hand on you. Get out go to a friend, family member, leave right away never go back. God wants us to be loved and respect each other and neighbors’ people. The more I think about it is these sins can create Rage, Hate, I’m wishing and terror. I lived through it. I can’t even begin to tell you all. Remember it’s not your fault.

    No one deserves to have another being hit or name called or anything. If your a man woman or child or even your friends or family or neighbors or a stranger, no one should go thru this. I can’t bring a horse to water and make him drink. We cant change anyone but ourself. We can pray and forgive. But the hitting and things like these never got better for me. Watching him never ever understand these sins pile up and cause more sins. Many people will lie to protect the abuser which is not good; it just puts us in more sin. I know I lived it. All I know is they lay hands on you or calls you names, just find a way to leave to a friend or family member.

    My relationship got to the point after 23 years all we built up got torn down to ground because of pure hate, rage, ill wishing and blaming me. It first started through his childhood; his father beat him. He needed to get help and not repeat the pattern, so one day when he got a wife he would not do the same. So, I say don’t get to the point I did. Get out. God knows everything. I feel he dosen’t want his people – all of us to go through these things.

  7. It’s with so much pain and a depressed heart, that I’m writing in here. After last night, I hate to say that my husband is a good person. We have been married for 2 and a half years with no kid. And this happened to me 2nd time. And according to him, the reason is because I angered him. Whenever he goes out with his friend for dinner, I react a bit, but that stays for like 5-10 mins. At the back of my mind, even I know husband/wife has right to hang out with friends.

    I am out everyday since 7 am till 7 pm and so does he, for our jobs. So I don’t get to see him or talk to him much. This is what I always think of -‘I have to spend alone after getting back home tonight’- which makes me angry for a while. Also when I get angry I never argue or anything, I just go silent for some time. But that’s all. That’s not a reason enough to hit someone. And even if a wife gets angry on her husband- doesn’t she have any right to be mad at him ever? Not only that, he dragged me out of my bed like a monster and tried to throw me out of the house with additions to criticizing my household works, my behavior, abusing me, etc. He grabbed my hands so hard that it left deep marks.

    The first time he did exactly like this to me was an year ago. I forgave him just blaming it on time. But this is the 2nd time it happened yesterday. After everything when he stopped and kinda cooled down, he started crying like a baby at night, as he has done something very bad, which he is aware of. I just don’t get it at all. Is he mentally sick or did he have a bad childhood? My mind has stopped working.

    I have no place to go either as I have no one in the country. He is the only person I trusted and came here for. I can’t even share this with my parents as they can’t handle the situation strongly. I don’t wanna harass them mentally at this point of their age plus they are back in my home country. Not sure what to do. Its been just 4-5 months that I have started working. Not enough savings either that I can start living on my own. Plus the bottom line- I loved this man. I still can’t imagine myself without him around in my life but after all that he did to me, I’m not sure what to do. Please help. Please advice. Please!

    1. Dear Nura, I’m so sorry to hear of the problem your husband is bringing into your marriage. He may be a “good person” in other ways, but he sure isn’t in this. Yes, you have the right to voice your anger over situations, such as you describe. But he has given himself permission to react in TOTALLY inappropriate, unfiltered ways. HE is the one who does not have the right to react the way he is. This is not your fault… no matter what he tells you.

      Nura, I don’t have a lot of advice, but perhaps I can direct you to those who can. First, please try to read and glean through the articles we have in the Abuse in Marriage topic at Read everything you can. There will be things within them that could help you to better protect yourself. Take the advice that you CAN use. Come up with a plan of escape. Your husband needs help and he may not get it unless you motivate him by staying away from him for a while, perhaps separating until he gets help. You say that you can’t afford that right now. I don’t know how much time you have before this gets even worse. But almost assuredly, it will. Find a way as soon as possible to get the money and to find ways to better protect yourself in the meantime.

      There should be several abuse centers located near you. And whether you are here in the U.S. legally, or not, they should be able to advise you on what you should do. You need to put a plan together, which they may be able to help you with. And if your husband finally realizes that he can’t stop hurting you like he is without help, they may be able to advise him where to get the help he needs.

      You ask if he is mentally sick or if he had a bad childhood. I don’t know. I don’t know your husband. But pray about this, asking for insight. And please know that even if he did have a bad childhood, that doesn’t give him the right to do to you what he did, and will do in the future, if given the chance. It means he needs to get help to stop this, no matter what is behind his mental state or background. But please know that YOU are not to blame for this, no matter what he says. Read the articles and you will see that this is what abusers do.

      I’m sad for you to be in this place. I pray wisdom for you and help for you. I sincerely hope your husband gets the help he needs. When you start dragging your wife out of her bed to throw her around and hurt her emotionally and physically, there are very deep, deep problems. You need to find protection, and he needs to get help. THAT will show that he is sincerely sorry. Tears and words of remorse are empty, without actions that support them. I hope this helps in some way, and pray for you to get added help that you need.

      1. Nura, I will pray: Oh Father, please be especially close to Nura at this time. Bless her richly for her kind spirit. Provide Your Powerful Hand of protection in her life. Keep all physical, mental, and spiritual harm from her. Bring a spirit of peace into her life. Use Your Spirit to prompt other believers and bring them into Nura’s life, to minister to her. Calm her husband and draw his focus to You, so that he will see You as his Father and his path forward to healing in his life. Bring supernatural healing and restoration into Nura’s marriage, in a way that brings great glory to Your Name. I ask these things in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, Amen!!!

  8. I am a student and I am from India. I and my husband came to Australia in June 2016. He now beats me and even threatens me and my mother. I am in stress now about what will he do to me now or tomorrow. I am always feeling scared. I need to know what should I do for my justice? I don’t want a divorce now but I want that his visa will be cancelled and he goes back to India. I want to complete my studies.

  9. My boyfriend of 6 months beat me last weekend because he had insecurities and jealousy as he thought I was cheating on him with my colleague. I tried to explain myself countless times that there’s nothing happening, however he didn’t want to hear about it. He was filled with rage and the worse part he was drunk. As I am writing this I am hurt, am angry, am confused. He apologizes everyday. I still love him but am scared of going back; I feel like his promises are not true. He’s doing this because he is feeling remorseful about what he did to me. None of my friends and my sister wants me. He asked me to help him to deal with his issues and I suggested we go to counseling together but how do I guarantee that he won’t raise his hands again and he said if he does it again I should press charges :-( . I would like to feel at peace again but I don’t know how to move away from this; I am drained. I even blocked communication on my phone; I need time.

  10. My husband always hit me when we fight and I got to a point where I can’t tell the truth about anything, even how I feel or what I want. I always wanna make him happy because I love him but now he can see that I keep things from him and it’s hurting him. But am scared to tell him because he blames me for everything. He abuses me in all kinds of ways. I love him so much. We have two boys; I really love our family and I don’t want to lose him.

      1. What am I suppost to do? We have been married 11 years and been together for 15. We have 6 kids and sometimes it will be months and it will just be verbal abuse but other times it has been real bad physical abuse. I have had broken teeth, sprained wrist and fractures. He gets so mad and violent fast, but we rent our house and he keeps all the bills a month behind . If I call the cops and they let him go I am sure that will be the last breath I ever take. I love my kids and stay with him because he threatens horrific harm to me if I try and leave; also I have nowhere to go. I am feeling lost and worn down. You may not understand, but I am tired of being a punching bag; I dont work so I have no way to support my kids but I would do anything for them. I am not sure what to do . I want the courage to attack back but I am in complete fear. So much pain and tears.

        1. Hi Momof6, Seems you should be reading the post just above yours by HDW. You are in a dangerous and potentially life threatening situation- your personal safety is a risk. I am a husband married for 37 years- our daughter was in a similar situation to yours for 8 years. Only when her own first daughter arrived, did she take action to leave her partner (he was not her husband)- since she felt she could not subject her little girl to the home situation, although she was prepared to put up with it herself. She is now married to a fine young man with whom she has a second daughter. Later she said that leaving the abusive situation was sorely needed, and that it should have happened earlier.

          I understand your words, “I want the courage to attack back but I am in complete fear. So much pain and tears.” They sound all too familiar. You need to get help, talk to an organization specializing in helping women in your situation (there are many). Talk to family, trusted friends… DO what you have to do, and do not wait! Talk to Child Protection Services; you owe that to your children. Who will take care of your kids if their mother is injured or dead?

  11. I have been married to my husband for 3 months now and unfortunately I’m afraid he has turned abusive. He started out with never trusting me. He always wanted to look through my phone, read my text’s, and when I got off a phone call he wanted to know all the other person said. Then one night when we were fighting over him not trusting me he tried to shove me out of the bed. We have a very tall Bed and I’m about 12 weeks pregnant. A fall like that would have hurt me and possibly the baby. After that I tried to get away from him in another room but he would kick the door in and wouldn’t leave me alone till I knew he was sorry.

    After that it seemed like everything was fine for a while; he started his distrust again. I never hid things from him because I know it makes him mad. I’m open about everything with him. Well, he started fighting while we were traveling in the car back from visiting my parents for the holidays. I called him a name after he called me a moron and he slapped me as hard as he could across the face for calling him a name. I was so scared of what he would do next. He did calm down and bought me a stuffed toy to make up for it.

    After that night I keep seeing how he gets angry at me if I talk to anyone, he doesn’t like me talking to family because he feels I won’t need him, and every time he gets to yelling I feel he is going to hit me again for standing up for myself. I feel like I’m more of a child to him to correct than his wife to respect. And now that I’m pregnant I’m scared for the baby and what he will do in his anger. I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m being disloyal for thinking I’ll leave him. I do love him; I just don’t know what happened.